BDSA Says Nearly 50% of Americans Can get Legal Cannabis

Cannabis data tech company BDSA released findings from its Consumer Insights Survey, which showed that cannabis consumer markets continue to expand as more states approve adult-use cannabis and acceptance of legal cannabis increased among consumers.

BDSA noted cannabis consumer “milestones” that had been achieved, including nearly 50% of Americans currently with access to legal cannabis. Data from Spring 2022 indicated that in states with legal adult-use cannabis, more than 50% of those surveyed claimed to have consumed cannabis within the last six months, which was up 15% from the same time in 2020.

Survey results also showed that the number of consumers that identified as “rejectors,” or non-consumers not open to consuming cannabis, dropped to 23% in Spring 2022, from 31% in Spring 2020.

“In just a few short years, attitudes towards cannabis across the country have shifted rapidly, with the share of those who have ‘bought in’ to cannabis consumption skyrocketing while fewer and fewer report not being open to consuming cannabis,” BDSA surmised. Survey findings also indicated consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about cannabis products and use, and that in Spring 2022, 35% considered themselves “cannabis connoisseurs,” which was up from 25% in Spring 2019. In 2022, 83% of those surveyed said they knew the difference between THC and CBD. BDSA added that consumers are exploring new activities to pair with cannabis, including alcohol consumption.

“There are several consumption occasions, such as hanging out, or relaxing at the end of the day, that present opportunities for both alcohol and cannabis consumption. The share of consumers who report pairing cannabis with different types of alcohol has risen significantly. The share of consumers in adult-use markets who report pairing cannabis with spirits or liquor rose from 12% in Spring 2018 to 22% in Spring 2022, while the share who report cannabis with cocktails doubled to 20% in Spring 2022,” the report said.

Percentages of cannabis consumers that said they combined consumption with other activities including fine dining and exercise also grew significantly in 2022, to more than a quarter of those surveyed. Overall, markets saw significant growth in the last two years, along with increased consumer participation, BDSA said. More mature markets like Colorado and California showed slower growth, which may signal “nearing” market saturation. Somewhat predictably, states that had recently legalized adult-use cannabis had the most rapid growth.

“Colorado saw its consumer participation jump from 41% in Spring 2020 to 51% in Spring 2022, but the markets saw only 1% growth in consumer share between Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. The survey said that the California market saw its consumer participation grow from 33% in Spring 2020 to 47% in Spring 2022 and only saw 2% growth in consumer share between Fall 2021 and Spring 2022,” the survey said.

In medicinal cannabis markets, consumer participation is lower but still showed significant growth from 26% in Spring 2020, to 41% in 2022. Rejecters in medicinal markets also dropped from 34% to 28% over the same time period. Florida, with its large medicinal-only market, saw a notable increase in consumer participation from 24% in Spring 2020, to 49% in Spring 2022.

Joanne Cachapero

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